Last Word: Simon Walsh

Last Word: Simon Walsh

Chef/Proprietor, Longsands Fish Kitchen, Tynemouth

Let’s start at the beginning, what do you eat for breakfast?
Breakfast is quite laid back – the kids generally have some yoghurt and fruit, I’ll have boiled eggs on toast with Marmite. Yorkshire Tea is also essential.

And your go-to guilty pleasure?
Toblerone or Terry’s Chocolate Orange – though I’ll only have them in the house after holidays and at Christmas.

What would be your last meal on earth?
A Sunday roast with the family.

What can I find in your home fridge right now?
There’s Sriracha hot sauce, some Greek yoghurt, a bit of smoked salmon, some Thai curry paste and there’s always some Red’s South Carolina Mustard – an absolute must with burgers and steak.

Which ingredient would you grab if you could only choose one?
An onion – they’re so important to just about every dish.

You must have plenty of essential kit in the kitchen. Which is the most important?
My Thermomix is really important and gets a lot of use. Apart from that, a really good Japanese knife is really important for a chef. You definitely get what you pay for and a good one will last you forever.

And your favourite cook book?
There are two at the moment – Berber & Q by Josh Katz, which is full of really good charcoal cooking, and Pollen Street by Jason Atherton, an amazing restaurateur who is always current.

What’s your favourite dish in the restaurant?
Lindisfarne oysters are just superb. All they ever need is a simple garnish.

Who’s the most famous person you’ve cooked for?
We had so many North East celebrities in while I was at Close House a few years ago. At Longsands, we hosted Brian Johnson of ACDC and Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits recently, which was pretty cool.

What’s your most important advice?
There are a few things that are really important. Young chefs need to build experience in a really good kitchen. I was lucky to work for Roger Narbett in my first job and learned so much about classic cooking before I went to work for Tony Binks and Terry Laybourne, which taught me so much about organisation and quality. Getting that grounding from the best chefs is really important. After that just stay organised and taste, taste, taste!

What would you be doing if you weren’t a chef?
I love cutting my grass so I’ll say a gardener so I can spend loads of time outside rather than in a hot kitchen.

If you only had £10 to spend on food, what would you buy?
Asian streetfood – noodles, steamed buns, dumplings, all those kinds of things.

Who is the greatest cook ever?
The Roux brothers – they’ve trained so many of the top chefs right now and they’ve inspired so many more. They changed the face of cooking in the UK.

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